An Ethnographic Exploration of Opioid Agonist Treatment Barriers and Facilitators Among Opioid Users in Rural Nebraska

An Ethnographic Exploration of Opioid Agonist Treatment Barriers and Facilitators Among Opioid Users in Rural Nebraska

Led by Dr. Roberto AbadieUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln

Study Overview:

This project aims to collect ethnographic data on opioid users living in two rural communities in Nebraska to document behavioral and structural factors affecting barriers and facilitators to Opioid Agonist Treatment enrollment.

Specific Aims:

(Aim 1): To document opioid users’ experiences of the barriers they face to enroll in and adhere to Opioid Agonist Treatment as well as the resources they can draw upon to help them remain in the program.

(Aim 2): To apply an integrated knowledge-exchange approach with our target audiences (policy makers, public health, Opioid Agonist Treatment providers, and harm reduction practice communities in Nebraska), providing them with the knowledge and tools to implement evidence based strategies to improve recruitment and adherence of Opioid Agonist Treatment in rural populations.

Study Sample Population:

N=600 (the entire Rural Health Cohort Study sample; all individuals that have been selected in the cohort study who are 19 years old or older and who report using opioids at least once in the past 30 days will be eligible for inclusion, up to the enrollment tallies for each treatment state; since this study does not keep personal information linked to data regarding opioid use and Opioid Agonist Treatment access, we won’t know which participants in this large study will meet our eligibility criteria).

Unique Study Procedures:


Long-Term Goals:

Understanding the individual and structural obstacles to Opioid Agonist Treatment participation in rural settings will contribute to evidence-based policies to improve Opioid Agonist Treatment access in relatively poorly served areas in the United States. By exploring the social determinants of Opioid Agonist Treatment access, this project fulfills the requirements of RFA-CE-19-002 Research Grants to Identify Effective Strategies for Opioid Overdose Prevention and is responsive to the NIH-wide mandate of improving minority health and reducing health disparities in the United States.

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Roberto Abadie

Dr. Roberto AbadiePROJECT Director

As a trained medical anthropologist, Dr. Abadie's research focuses on how different forms of social stratification, in particular, class, race, and ethnicity, contribute to produce and reproduce health inequalities in marginalized populations. He has conducted extensive fieldwork on the ethics of clinical trials, HIV risk, People Who Inject Drugs (PWID), and health disparities among Latino populations in a variety of settings in Latin America, the Caribbean and the US.

Full Roberto Abadie bio